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You’re no TPaw: WCCO Radio disses Dayton in radio-show bid

There are going to be a lot of DFLers mad at the Good Neighbor. 
For years, WCCO Radio aired Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s hour-long radio show at 9 a.m.

There are going to be a lot of DFLers mad at the Good Neighbor. 

For years, WCCO Radio aired Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s hour-long radio show at 9 a.m. Friday — not exactly drive time, but close — even as they rebuffed DFL legislators’ requests for a few minutes at the end of the governor’s hour.

So what happens when a DFLer is elected governor? WCCO offers 7 a.m. Saturday … the radio equivalent of garbage time.

The WCCO bid throws other tacit insults Dayton’s way. The governor would get Friday time — 4 minutes at 6:20 a.m. on Dave Lee’s show.

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And unlike TPaw, who chose his own team, including communications staffer Brian McClung as sidekick, WCCO “would request” Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chair Ted Mondale as co-host.

Think they’re telling Dayton he’s bad radio?

Also, unlike the station’s 2006 Pawlenty bid, which went out of its way to suggest remote broadcasts such as the Governor’s Fishing Opener, the Dayton bid “will not provide equipment, broadcast lines or personnel for broadcasts in remote locations.” 

The final knife twist: “WCCO reserves the right to pre-empt the Governor’s Show as the Program Director sees fit.”

WCCO officials were not immediately available for comment. Economics may have played a part in the remotes — the radio biz is significantly less lucrative these days — and disallowing Dayton from controlling questions on Lee’s show is actually a sound journalistic practice. I’ve never been a fan of these “spin-and-sychophancy” shows, so their demise isn’t necessarily a tragedy.

Still, the non-equal-time provisions will provoke political howls — especially for a station whose image is playing it straight.

The bid confirms my suspicion last month that WCCO wasn’t really serious about putting Gov. Dayton on the air. At the time, the only clue was WCCO’s break with the Minnesota News Network, which syndicated TPaw’s show (and Gov. Jesse Ventura’s before that) statewide. This time, WCCO offered to make downloads available to other statewide stations.

Dayton’s communications team is keeping the lid on any anger right now. According to communications advisor Bob Hume, “We were looking for a proposal that enabled the people of Minnesota to have an open dialogue with their Governor in every corner of the state — none of the proposals provided us with that opportunity.” 

The other bidders — AM950; KFAI in association with the AMPERS network of non-MPR public stations; and BringMeTheNews — are all relatively small outlets. (Personally, I would have advised Dayton to pick one to reward their interest, and at least get some word out.)

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With the Dayton sidelines, the only Capitol crew with a radio show on the air is, once again, the Republicans. GOP state Senators broadcast a weekly show via an Owatonna station.

WCCO-AM Dayton radio show bid